RIP Oak Street Cinema

[The red Oak Street seats covered in rubble.]
The story of the Oak Street Cinema is a long one, and can't really be told here.

There are lots of reasons why they failed, many of which involve individuals screwing up for various reasons, but what's clear as the wrecking ball smashes into the space where the movie screen used to be is that there's one fewer small one-screen independent movie theater building in Minneapolis within walking distance of the University of Minnesota today than there was yesterday.

[The last legs of Oak Street, where I first saw The Last Picture Show.]

Why does that suck?

Because students walk around a lot and like movies. I used to work at a small one-screen movie theater in my college town, heading down there to sell popcorn and check out really interesting films once or twice a week. It was great. I saw every art house film made in the years 1998 and 1999, and a ton old older repertory stuff (some of which was shown backwards).

When I moved back to Minneapolis, the Oak Street was another place I could go to see great old films like Five Easy Pieces, Persona, Andrei Rublev, and events like Crispin Hellion Glover's CRAZY event "What is It? It is Fine."

So today, seeing those uncomfortable seats covered in rubble makes me sad.

[The hole where the Oak Street Cinema screen used to be.]


Mike Hicks said...

Sad to see it go, but at least it's being replaced by a decent-sized building as opposed to turning into a parking lot. Unfortunately, I think I only saw one or two movies there. The only event I remember was when Bruce Campbell came by for a showing of Evil Dead.

ari_1965 said...

Sorry to see the place go. Have fond memories of seeing a double feature of To Have Or Have Not and The Big Sleep there, among others. Great to see Bogart and Bacall on the big screen.

Anonymous said...

It makes me so sad. I nurtured my emotional affair with Ingmar Bergman at that theater on many chill fall nights during his retrospective several years ago. I lived right above the Harvard Market just around the corner, another Stadium Village landmark that was also flattened for a goddamned CVS.